If someone asked, “what makes you, you? “ would you immediately know how to respond? How would you narrate your story? As simple as this question may sound, many of us would have a hard time answering. The reason for this is multifaceted. A common reason why people are unable to boast about their innate greatness openly with others is that they genuinely don’t see themselves in this way. I’m just an average person; I am nothing special, some may say. If you don’t resemble the photo-shopped people on the television screen or you haven’t accomplished the unthinkable at an early age, you deem yourself unworthy. Not worth speaking of or at least not in high regard.
I often ask myself why this lack of self-worth has become so prevalent. Are the idolized stars of Hollywood or professional athletes all that different from us? Each year the top elite profit off of our oversharing and praise through social media posts and word of mouth. We glorify individuals we’ve never met before. Endless amount of money is spent annually in the entertainment industry; concert tickets, movies, video streaming subscriptions, and athletic games all to show our support. Yet, when someone asks us, “what makes you special,” we shy away with embarrassment.
One of the biggest perpetrators for this is the extensive amount of misleading information supplied through media, especially social media, every day. These images, the over-inflated perceptions of people’s “fabulous” lives, make us feel that our ordinary lives don’t add up. Ironically, social media intended to connect people has a way of making us feel isolated and inadequate if not used appropriately. Unfortunately, just like most challenges we face in life, there is no step-by-step manual on how to use social media in a way that does not threaten your mental well-being.
Many may argue my position on this. Only positive can come out of social media, they’ll say. Or some don’t know how to navigate the platforms well enough to resonate with the blindingly visible adverse effects. But the fact of the matter is this is readily occurring. Groups most at risk are young children and adolescents—children spending more time and energy trying to be like someone else instead of admiring themselves. Leading to a lack of creativity and self-awareness.
I can attest that being in your early twenties is an incredibly challenging and complicated time. You get pulled in so many directions. Hovering the line of adulthood yet still attempting to preserve and not lose sight of your child-like innocence. Questions are flooding your mind constantly about what career you’ll settle into, the city you’ll decide to live in, and or the ever so complex decision of determining who you’ll eventually settle down with and marry. If this wasn’t hard enough, you open up social media and see people doing all these things that you frequently work yourself up over. It appears they do it with so much grace and ease; which actually just amounts to strategic planning, photoshop, and great lighting, but that’s beside the point.
Over time we create a divide between what we have and what we desire. Our desires soon become far more important than the great things going on in our life currently. We lose sight of what makes us remarkable and devalue our accomplishments because we are too focused on what other people are doing.
When this happens, and I’m sure most if not all of you reading could relate in some capacity, we must pause, take a step back from the chaos of our lives and remind ourselves of how far we’ve come. Gratitude is incredibly essential when navigating the seldom enigmatic brief periods of our life. Adversity is unavoidable, but temporary. But oftentimes we prolong the effect of adversity due to our mindset. A favorite quote of mine by Maya Angelou reads, “If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going.” As a result of “getting ahead,” we too often live our lives in a future-focused mindset. When we start micromanaging our lives to the point of a breaking point, it subsequently hits that much harder. We get so worked up on what we “could have had” when in reality, most of us have all we need right in front of us. Or we partake in destructive self-thought considering why we aren’t like those “successful” people. Why can’t we have their life? The answer is simple; it’s not your life to have. No one can do you better than you. So instead of attempting to be like everyone else, be unapologetically you; this is your superpower. A power that no one can take away from you, although some may try.
Often when we reframe our outlook on life, we realize that all this time, we were our own biggest enemy. So the next time someone asks you, what makes you unique, respond by saying, I am unique because I am me. I honor the good and the bad, the highs and the lows.
That is your superpower, your award-winning story. Tell it proudly.
This week spend some time reflecting on your past. Be grateful for how far you’ve come and be fearless in the pursuit of where you are going. Share this post on your social media for those who may need an encouraging word.
Want to continue reading? Read my post here on how to stay confident in spaces where you feel like an outsider.